Georgia County Government - January/February 2013 - (Page 7)

Director’sDesk ACCG and Vinson Institute Launch the Lifelong Learning Academy By Ross King Executive Director I n 1986, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) Board of Managers challenged staff to develop a statewide training program for county officials. From this initial conversation, ACCG formed a strategic partnership with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia to develop the commissioners’ training program and the first classes were offered the following year. Since that time, more than 3,000 county officials have achieved certification through these nationally recognized programs. Yet all too often, as commissioners shook hands and accepted their certificates, they would smile broadly and say, “I’m done!” It is my strong belief that one is never finished with learning. State and federal laws change, requirements for implementing mandated services are updated, new technologies are introduced and innovative approaches to save counties financial and personnel resources are identified. Individuals who stay engaged in training are better prepared to make decisions on behalf of their counties. In the spirit of continuous education, ACCG and the Vinson Institute have launched the Lifelong Learning Academy. This updated, progressive approach to training and certification programs was developed through recommendations from the ACCG Training Assessment Committee comprised of county commissioners. It is truly a training program created by commissioners, for commissioners, and focuses on key areas of expertise to aid in leadership development and policy making. The class of incoming county commissioners that took office on Jan. 1, 2013 will serve as the inaugural participants in the new core certification program. This program requires the completion of eight courses as well as the two-day Leadership Academy for a total of 66 hours. The required courses include: County Government 101, County Government Law, County Government Finance, Human Resources, Ethics, Property Appraisal and Taxation, Economic Development, and Public Health and Safety. Commissioners who complete this core certification are eligible for a $100 per month stipend from their county. Following the completion of the program, these individuals must earn 18 hours of continuing education annually to maintain their certification. These continuing education hours can be earned by attending ACCG conferences, participating regional training programs, attending ACCG district or policy committee meetings or taking additional training classes. During the next year, ACCG is transitioning the certified commissioners advanced program (CCAP) to specialty certifications for the next tier of learning. Specialty certifications are one of the most exciting parts of this new program. The vision for specialty certifications is to allow county officials to focus on a core area of county governance and gain a deeper level of knowledge than is possible through a day-long course. The ACCG Lifelong Learning Academy will offer specialty certifications in: Citizen Engagement, County Operations and Management, Community Development, Intergovernmental Relations, Leadership Development, Public Safety, Quality of Life / Social Issues and Revenue and Finance. Specialty certifications are comprised of primary and cross-over courses, which are similar to required and elective courses. Each specialty certification requires the completion of 48 hours of courses, including 30 hours of the specialty’s primary courses and an additional 18 hours from primary courses or crossover courses. For individuals who are currently working on CCAP certification, this will be a year of transition. ACCG will assist people who have 24 or more hours of CCAP coursework to develop a plan to complete this certification by the end of 2013. ACCG will transition individuals with less than 24 hours of coursework into the new specialty certification program, giving them credit for those hours where they appropriately fall in one of the specialty tracts. The ACCG Lifelong Learning Academy is designed not only to provide a solid foundation in county governance through the core certification program, but also to provide a framework to continuously engage county officials with diverse course offerings that can be adapted to incorporate hot topics and other issues as needed. ACCG, the Board of Managers and the Vinson Institute are pleased to present this new approach to training and look forward to seeing you in the classroom very soon. ■ For more information on the ACCG Lifelong Learning Academy, go to and click on “Training & Meetings.” An overview of the program can be found on the middle of the page. More details on the core certification program and specialty certifications are available by clicking on the links on the left side of the page. For more information, please contact Carol Baker at (404) 522-5022 or or Kitty Shollenberger at (706) 542-9523 or SPRING 2013 7

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - January/February 2013

President's Message
Director's Desk
Chatham County: Cultivating Opportunities to Grow Investments
2013 ACCG Annual Conference Preview
Eight Annual Georgia County Excellence Awards
County Government : Emergency Management Agencies: Prepared Today for Tomorrow's Disaster
Federal Update: The Fiscal Cliff: What's in the Final Deal and When's the Next One Coming?
Counties & the Law: Avoiding First Amendment Liability in the Employee Discipline
System for Taxing Motor Vehicles to Change March 1
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - January/February 2013